Saturday, March 25, 2017

Deadly Impressions

"I have an impression -- I hope it's only an impression -- that the practise of killing political opponents has started spreading in Russia."
Gennady Gudkov, (former parliamentarian, ex-security services officer), Moscow
A Ukrainian police expert seizes a gun at the scene where former Russian MP Denis Voronenkov was shot.
A Ukrainian police expert seizes a gun at the scene where former Russian MP Denis Voronenkov was shot.  (SERGEI SUPINSKY) 
An impression. Only a mere impression? Anyone daring to question the motives of the Kremlin and the methods of the President of Russia, let alone boldly independent-minded journalists burdened by an imperative of justice prevailing, takes their lives in their own hands when through free will and unstoppable indignation, they seek to challenge and oppose this President-for-life, by submitting theirs involuntarily to his, impulsively.

For registering a new political movement Sergei Yushenkov earned the fate of being gunned down outside his Moscow home, the evidence that Mr. Putin's government plotted 1999 bombings dying with him, in 2003. The ghoulish fate of Alexander Litvinenko, who discovered too late that viewing haven in London a solution to fear, suffered agonies of pain for three weeks, infected with deadly plonium-210, a critic of Russia's Putin.

Journalist Anna Politkovskaya, Putin's government, found him to be guilty of operating a police state and covering up war crimes, and she paid dearly for her authorship of such charges, shot to death while in an elevator in her apartment building, in 2006. Abductions and murders in Chechnya revealed by journalist Natalya Estemirova led to her 2006 kidnapping and execution. The death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who pursued a massive tax evasion scheme in 2009 led to the Magnitsky law adopted in the U.S. sanctioning those involved.

Human rights lawyers, Russian tycoons running afoul of Vladimir Putin, Russian reformers, protest leaders, they were all treated to very special attention by the Russian President, never living to tell their stories. A potential future president of Russia who had served as deputy prime minister, Boris Nemtsov was assassinated in 2015 after leading a massive street rally against Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, the act taking place in sight of the Kremlin, another mystery unsolved.

The sinister reality of thuggish and deadly Russian politics that has blossomed under Vladimir V. Putin takes the world's attention, while Mr. Putin blandly denies that he has anything to do with
plots to scrub out the lives of those who have the reckless temerity to challenge his authority. The man seems as unassailable to evidence as he is to accusations that his agenda is that of a mafioso diligently protecting his territory.

Among most Russians, Mr. Putin's reputation has never wilted, held in admiration as a traditional heroic strongman.

Now, Anton Gerashchenko an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, has identified the assassin who shot Kremlin critic Denis Voronenkov as a Russian agent, 28-year-old Pavel Parshov, trained by Russian security services. Formerly a Russian lawmaker and more latterly an outspoken critic of Moscow after moving to Ukraine, Mr. Voronenkov was shot in the back as he walked beside his bodyguard close to the entrance of a hotel in Kyiv's central district.

Mr. Voronenkov was scheduled to appear before Ukraine's Military Prosecutor's Office, alongside another Russian fugitive lawmaker, Ilya Ponomaryov. And while the former's testimony will not be received, the latter's might be susceptible to reconsideration. CCTV footage of the attack was featured on Friday by the Ukrainian media showing Parshov shooting Voronenkov. The bodyguard, reacting, is also shot and in that interval the killer shoots Mr. Voronenkov once more.

When the injured bodyguard pulls his weapon, opening fire on the killer, it marks his own end. President Petro Poroshenko termed the assassination an "act of state terrorism" while Russian officials deny, deny, deny, turning the tables to Ukraine itself being involved in the killing and attempting to smear Russia with the crime.

Police officers hold Maria Maksakova, wife of former Russian MP Denis Voronenkov, near the entrance of the hotel where Voronenkov was shot dead.
Police officers hold Maria Maksakova, wife of former Russian MP Denis Voronenkov, near the entrance of the hotel where Voronenkov was shot dead.   (SERGEI SUPINSKY)

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